(In case you were wondering, this is only the 28th story from SSOMG, but it seemed appropriate to number this story #32 after the Dodger jersey that Sandy made famous).
Sandy Koufax is 84 years old these days; starting to make even me feel old.
I remember I was at a track meet in September 1965, when I heard via the transistor-carrying grapevine that Sandy had just thrown his 4th no-hitter, this time a perfect game, against the Chicago Cubs. I later learned that the Dodgers were only able to squeak out one hit themselves, in winning the game 1-0. It was the first time, maybe the only time that a 9 inning game had been played with the two teams combining for only one hit. I guess Sandy must have known he was going to have to be perfect that night in order to come away with a win.
But Sandy was about perfect every night. Koufax only pitched for 12 seasons, retiring after the 1966 season at the age of 30. He retired at the age of 30……
As a result, Sandy Koufax became the youngest player ever to be elected to the Hall of Fame at the age of 35. Many consider him one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. In his final year, 1966, he won 27 games….just think if he could have somehow prolonged his career for a few more years.
Sandy Koufax is now 84 years old.
Sandy retired 54 years ago. And how many Dodger fans, and National League fans and fans of baseball in general know his legend and his name, even though they did not live through his fabulous seasons in the 1960’s? Sandy Koufax is one of the names that are as big as the game. He falls into the bucket with a rare group of baseball players. SSOMG considers only 7 other players to be his peer, at the top of the list of great players during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and for that matter, all -time:
– Hank Aaron
– Pete Rose
– Mickey Mantle
– Willie Mays
– Roberto Clemente
– Bob Gibson
– Sandy Koufax
Those were the guys; and for my generation, maybe none greater than Sandy Koufax.